Young Michael Dettlaff will never forget the Summer of '13. Not only did the 12-year-old Boy Scout find a huge 5.16-carat rough diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, but the story of his prospecting success was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
GMA’s five million viewers learned how the vacationing North Carolinian snapped up the jelly-bean-sized, honey-brown diamond within 10 minutes of arriving at the popular Arkansas destination, and almost left the park without getting the stone checked out.
“I was looking around on the ground and found it on top," Michael told GMA. "It was very glassy. Very smooth. It didn’t look like anything else around it."
At first, Michael and his family didn’t think it was a diamond. "Later on in the day, right when we were ready to quit, my wife showed it to me again and then I thought, you know, that might really be something," said Chris Dettlaff, Michael’s dad.
At that point, Michael and his sister visited the park’s identification center, where specimens are analyzed for free.
"When I brought this rock out of the bag, the guy who's there, he just went bug-eyed and he said, 'Hang on a second. I need to take this to the back room,'" Michael recounted. "So then people start coming from everywhere and they're like, 'Oh yeah. It's a big diamond.'"
The 5.16-carat gem is the 27th largest diamond ever found at the diamond site. Once cut and faceted, the honey-brown diamond could be worth as much as $15,000, GMA reported.
"If it can get cut and it's valuable, I think I'd probably want to have it cut and sell it," the young prospector said. "If it's not, well, then it's a souvenir."
As is the custom at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Michael got the honor of naming his prized gemstone. He called it “God’s Glory Diamond.”
The search area at the park is a 37 1/2-acre plowed field, which is actually the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater. It’s the only diamond-producing site in the world where amateur miners get to keep what they find. Park admission costs $7 ($4 for children).
Back in April, a recreational prospector celebrating her 30th birthday made news when she scooped up a 2.10-carat iced-tea brown diamond.
Since 1972, more than three million park visitors have tried their luck. Over that same time, the field has yielded more than 30,000 diamonds, and 900 of those weighed more than 1 carat.